With a mug of supposedly ‘artisan’ coffee (at least according to the packaging from which he had extracted the pod) in one hand and his brand new, state of the art, smartphone in the other, Ronald opened up the supermarket app and attempted to complete his weekly grocery shop from the comfort of his cream leather sofa. In the background, a digital ‘box set’ was playing on his 4K Ultra HD TV. He couldn’t really give the show his full attention, but he rarely gave any one thing his full attention these days and he needed groceries fairly urgently. Well, perhaps ‘urgently’ was overstating the case. He had a fridge full of perfectly edible food, but none of it much complied with the new diet regime that he was fully committed to starting immediately. He’d read about it online while he had been working out on his, recently acquired, top of the line elliptical cross-trainer, (with integrated table holder) that morning and it seemed like just the thing he needed to kickstart his new lifestyle change.
Once the app was open, he clicked on his ‘favourites’ tab, and scrolled down, sadly shaking his head. He couldn’t believe he had been filling his body with this filth for all these years. But not any more. Now he was going to do things the right way. Searching for the products he needed, as none of these were listed in amongst his usual purchases, he began to fill his virtual shopping basket. He selected a delivery time of first thing the following morning, and clicked through the screens to the payment page. The shopping basket came in at just under the minimum price required for ‘free delivery’ (it wasn’t actually free of course, he paid a monthly subscription for the privilege of being able to choose any delivery slot he wanted). The relatively small price of his grocery bill was, to Ronald, confirmation that he was doing the right thing, and he was certain that the financial saving was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the benefit he was going to feel one his new diet had become established. But he still needed to hit the minimum order value, so he added in some of his favourite biscuits to make up the amount. After all, he reasoned, even under his new healthy regime, he would still need the occasional treat.
He clicked through the remaining screens to confirm his order and turned his attention to the TV. It looked as though he might have missed a significant plot point so he ‘rewound’ the show a few minutes to enable him to make sense of what he was watching.
There was the sound of post hitting the mat. It amazed Ronald that he still received letters. He knew most of it would be junk-mail, but he couldn’t relax fully knowing that it was there, so he went to collect it from the front door. It was, as expected, mostly promotional literature from companies who either had not worked out how to use the internet for their marketing, or had worked it out but still wanted to cover all their bases. Ronald sifted through it to see if there was anything of interest. There was something from a wine shop he sometimes used, which he thought might be worth a look. There was also something from his bank. It was marked ‘URGENT’ in bold red on the envelope, but Ronald was less than convinced that this was the case. He was close to his overdraft limit, he knew, but his credit card was far from maxed out.
Availing himself of another coffee, he returned to his box-set and considered whether he needed to purchase a case of reasonably-priced Merlot.